Trying to win a Group One race without the obvious benefit of a lead-up start while their horse gives weight to every runner is a test of skill for any trainer.
Lucia Valentina’s trainer Kris Lees insists it’s a better plan than the alternative.
Lees will pitch Lucia Valentina into the Coolmore Classic confident the mare will make her mark as the established class runner in the $600,000 race at Rosehill on Saturday.
What he was not so sure about was Lucia Valentina matching it with Australia’s best racehorse in the early stages of a campaign he hopes can be extended to the Brisbane winter carnival.
“The option was to wait to run her in the George Ryder Stakes next week but I’m not that keen to take on Winx at this stage,” Lees said.
Lucia Valentina is topweight for the Coolmore with 58kg and Lees has secured the sought-after services of James McDonald.
McDonald is retained as Godolphin’s No.1 jockey in Australia and he will pitted against his employer as the stable sends out Ghisoni and Pearls, three-year-old fillies handicapped too lightly for his weight range.
Lees will be bidding for his second Group One winner in a week after Le Romain upset Press Statement in the Randwick Guineas.
Early support at long odds suggests Lucia Valentina is wound up enough to continue the stable’s run.
“She had that residual fitness after her trip to Hong Kong and I’m pleased with how she has come up off the back of two nice trials,” Lees said.
“She’s quite effective first-up although she is better with a bit of rain around.”
Lucia Valentina ran the best race of three Australian horses on International Day at Sha Tin when fifth in the Hong Kong Cup in December.
And her most recent barrier trial has convinced Lees she can add to her record before going to stud.
“I wanted to put her under pressure in her second trial to see where she is at and now she is ready to go to the races,” he said.
John O’Shea said Winx’s absence from the Coolmore also persuaded Godolphin to put Ghisoni’s unbeaten record on the line at the highest level with Corey Brown getting down to 50kg to take the ride.
“She comes in very nicely under the conditions of this race and we’re really looking forward to seeing what she’s got,” O’Shea said.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au